Newsic Nights’ revival: Featuring Big Mountain Blue


Photo by unknown for The Lafayette

Big Mountain Blue (left to right), including J. P. Bisciotti ‘14, Kevin Jackson ‘16, John Favini ‘14, Julia Seidenstein ‘14 and Kyle Tucker ‘14, perform in a mini-concert in the newsroom last Friday.

Photo by Nicole Maselli ’14

Newsic Nights are casual mini concerts by Lafayette musical artists or groups of any genre, hosted by The Lafayette in the newsroom. These events, lasting anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour and a half, began in Spring 2012; this concert is the revival of these events, the first this academic year. Video coverage of these performances can be found at

Last Friday evening, the building of Farinon was relaxing after the post-Jamnesty rush and under a steady rain. Within the newsroom, acoustic folksy music resonated. Settled into the couch cushions around a short coffee table, were five figures, most in flannel, all playing on strings of different lengths: it was Big Mountain Blue.

Kevin Jackson ‘16 was in the center armchair, a guitar across his lap and another on the table in front of him. The rest of the band surrounded him: John Favini ‘14 on mandolin and banjo, John Paul Bisciotti ‘14 on bass, Julia Seidenstein ‘14 on violin and Kyle Tucker ‘14 also on guitar.

Some of the songs were relatively well known, like Wagon Wheel, Skinny Love, and Fare Thee Well, but several–some would argue the best–were originals, with lyrics that painted illustrations in audience members’ minds. As Jackson sang them, his voice was dominant in the sound, no microphone necessary, even against the five instruments. Between songs, and sometimes also within them, the band would chat among itself and with its audience, through the instrumental parts, joking and explaining backgrounds. A few of the songs had never been played together as a full group before, they cheerfully informed audiences. But if they thought it would work they’d give it a shot, and each time ended in grinning applause from the audience.

Listening to the group was fantastic; watching them was maybe just as fun. From under his baseball cap, Jackson would catch and maintain long eye contact with his band mates, often accompanied by a huge smile as the dim light reflected off of their wooden instruments. Occasionally, Seidenstein and Favini would laughingly switch places so that her violin bow would not poke him in the side of the head.

It is safe and exciting to say, that we can look forward to many more performances from Big Mountain Blue and of Newsic Nights events.